Copyright is a very interesting area in its own right, but for the purposes of this class, I want you to know the basics.

Copyright owners have certain rights:
  • Reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;
  • Prepare derivative works based upon the work;
  • Distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
  • Perform the work publicly
  • Display the work publicly
  • Perform the work by playing a digital recording

Some general tips and hints:
  • Copyright lasts a LONG time so it's a good bet that if it's been published in your own or your parents' lifetime, it is still under copyright.
  • Even if it doesn't have a copyright notice, it is copywritten if it has been published in some form.
  • Just because it's offered on a website, doesn't mean it's legal. There's lots of copyright violations going on out there!

Fair Use is a special part of copyright that allows expanded use for educators and journalists:

The fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. This basically means you can use legally acquired copywritten works in your classroom without permission. There are, however, no cut and dried rules about fair use. There are four tests to consider to determine fair use:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Example: making a copy of a poem versus making a copy of a workbook

Creative Commons is a new trend in copyright designed to make it easier to share materials.

Learn more about copyright at Stanford's Copyright and Fair Use Center

Places to find copyright-free or public domain resources:
Internet Archive
Wikimedia Commons
Yellowstone National Park

Open Source Software:
This trend in software development allows developers to have access to the computer code itself so they can change it or make additions. The software is offered to users for free. There are open source operating systems like Linux and an open source Office-type suite called Open Office. In fact, most of the commercial software you use has an open source equivalent. Decisions about using this type of software are usually made at the school division level, but you should be aware of open source as it is slowly making its way into schools. The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory has an excellent introduction to open source for educators.